prophesies

As a survivor of the Communist Holocaust I am horrified to witness how my
beloved America, my adopted country, is gradually being transformed into a
secularist and atheistic utopia, where communist ideals are glorified and
promoted, while Judeo-Christian values and morality are ridiculed and
increasingly eradicated from the public and social consciousness of our nation.
Under the decades-long assault and militant radicalism of many so-called
“liberal” and “progressive” elites, God has been progressively erased from
our public and educational institutions, to be replaced with all manner of
delusion, perversion, corruption, violence, decadence, and insanity.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn


(detail of Michelangelo’s prophet Isaiah from the Sistine Chapel)

I’ll be the first to admit that I have been known to cry out,
“Oh Lord, where are your prophets of old?”

Where are those mystical voices today?

Where are the Jeremiahs, the Isaiahs, the Obadiahs, the Habakuks,
the Elijahs, the Zechariahs…where is John…

Where are those voices who once cried out in the wilderness?
Where are those voices who made kings and rulers quake?
Where are the voices of Truth?
Where are those whose voices spoke the words of the great I AM?

And yet it has seemed as if we have been living in a silent age.
An age of a Godless void.
Has God turned His back on us?

No.

The Word teaches us that no, no He has not, nor will He.
Yet it appears that He just might just be allowing us to have our own way.

And so I looked back to a post I wrote back in 2014…a post
based on the words of the Russian novelist and historian,
Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn.

Prophetic words…

So here is that post from 7 years ago:

As a tale-end Baby Boomer and child of the Cold War, the Soviet Union,
the USSR, The Federation of the Russian Republic or simply Mother Russia,
has always been an uncomfortable shadow over my shoulder,
just as it has for most everyone my age and older.
The enigma known as Russia, who most graciously hosted the world last February
for the Winter Olympics only to turn around and shock us all a
few months following with the “invasion” of Ukraine,
has remained a conundrum for the free world since the Russian Revolution
of 1917, which gave way to birth of Communism.

When I was in high school, which seems to be many lifetimes ago,
I had the good fortune of taking a Russian History course—
with the most memorable experience being of my introduction to the
writings of Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
I had the good fortune of reading several of his books…
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, The Gulag Archipelago
and Cancer Ward.

Now all these many years later I find myself drawn back to the
writings and words of Solzhenitsyn,
of which I find more prophetic than I had ever imagined.

For those of you unfamiliar with Solzhenitsyn, in a nutshell,
he was a Russian soldier (WWII), Gulag prisoner (for nearly 10 years),
writer and novelist, historian, Soviet dissident,
Nobel Prize recipient and finally, again, Russian citizen.

As a life long member of the Russian Orthodox Church,
Solzhenitsyn was guided by a deeply spiritual moral compass.
He was a very loud and vocal opponent of Totalitarianism,
of which expedited his forced exile from the Soviet Union,
yet he could also be equally critical of the West and its obsession
with Capitalism, Consumerism and Materialism.
All of which reminds me of the chastisement the West often
received from Pope John Paul II, as well as Mother Teresa—
as perhaps those who have suffered more grievously under the
Socialist and ultra Nationalistic Regime of the Nazis and
then that of the Communist Soviets, have perhaps a clearer
perspective of our often blind view of what we consider to be
“the good life”

I am poignantly reminded of Solzhenitsyn,
his words and wisdom as well wise counsel and rebukes of those
who have witnessed first hand the sinister wiles and atrocities of Evil,
particularly during this time of year as it seems the world
always appears to crescendo to a heightened sense of madness–
just as the holidays come into focus.
I don’t know why that is except that as the world seems to not
only witness an abundance of joy and goodwill,
there seems to be an equal measure of evil and chaos.
Perhaps it is because Christians are drawn to the birth
of the Savior and Jews begin the celebration of the miracle of light
and the rededication to the Second Temple–
a time of a tremendous pull of people toward God—
as it seems Evil must have its share of the pie by unleashing
its part of unimaginable pain and suffering in order to
create some sort of sadistic counter balance.

Perhaps our senses are on hyper drive this time of year
as we keenly feel the highs of Joy and Wonder along with t
he bottomless pit of despair and suffering as they each roll in to one.
These thoughts reverberate in my mind just as
Sydney, Australia was held hostage Monday by a radical Islamist
madman leaving 3 individuals, including the gunman, dead.
Then on Tuesday, Pakistan witnessed an unimaginable attack
on a school leaving 132 children and 9 adult staff members
dead all at the hands of the Taliban.

We currently have a menacing cyber attack taking place at
Sony as North Korea is suspected to be retaliating to the
release of a tongue and cheek movie which sadly mocks an
attempted assassination of an, albeit, unhinged world leader.
Sometimes I think we, those of us in the West with our often
sophomoric entertainment industry, have lost our sense of what
is considered off limits or morally wrong when it comes to
the exploitation of movie making and entertainment—
but I suppose a moral compass would be needed in the
first place in order to be reminded of such. . .

We have just marked the tragic anniversary of the
Sandy Hook massacre as we continue reading headline after
headline of local, national and global tragedies.
Just as the world tries to come together in some sort of
unity marking two very sacred holy times of the year
as well as the secular merry making of Santa,
Papa Noel and Kris Kringle’s arrival.

In reading Solzhenitsyn’s book Warning to the West,
which is actually a brief composite and compendium of the
texts to three separate addresses made in the US in the late 1970’s,
it is startlingly frightening noting the parallels of then verses now.
I am keenly reminded of the relevance of Solzhenitsyn’s
words which were uttered almost 40 years ago as they could
very well be spoken on the world stage today regarding today’s global state.
I will leave you with a few pieces of his excerpted texts in
order to ponder and ruminate the relevance and warnings
which echo across our prosaic landscape as we wrestle to make
sense of the tragic events which continue to unfold before
our very eyes this holiday season…

“Is it possible or impossible to transmit the experience of
those who have suffered to those who have yet to suffer?
Can one part of humanity learn from the bitter experience
of another or can it not? Is it possible or impossible to
warn someone of danger?
How many witnesses have been sent to the West in the
last sixty years? How may waves of immigrants?
How many millions of persons? They are all here.
You meet them every day. You know who they are:
if not by their spiritual disorientation, their grief,
their melancholy, then you can distinguish them by their
accents or their external appearance. Coming from
different countries, without consulting with one another,
they have brought out exactly the same experience;
They tell you exactly the same thing:
they warn you of what is now taking place and of what has
taken place in the past. But the proud skyscrapers stand on,
jut into the sky, and say: It will never happen here.
This will never come to us. It is not possible here.”

“In addition to the grave political situation in the world today,
we are also witnessing the emergence of a crisis of unknown nature,
one completely new, and entirely non-political.
We are approaching a major turning point in world history,
the the history of civilization. It has already been noted
by specialists in various areas.
I could compare it only with the turning from the Middle Ages
to the modern era, a shift in our civilization.
It is a juncture at which settled concepts suddenly become hazy,
lose their precise contours, at which our familiar
and commonly used words lose their meaning, become empty shells,
and methods which have been reliable for many centuries no longer work.
It’s the sort of turning point where the hierarchy of
values which we have generated, and which we use to determine what
is important to us and what causes our hearts to beat
is starting to rock and may collapse.
These two crises, the political crisis of today’s world
and the oncoming spiritual crisis, are occurring at the same time.
It is our generation that will have to confront them.
The leadership of your country, which is entering the third century
of existence as a nation will perhaps have to bear a burden greater
than ever before in American history. Your leaders will
need profound intuition, spiritual foresight,
high qualities of mind and soul.
May God granted that in those times you will have at the
helm personalities as great as those who rested your country…”

(excepts taken from a speech delivered in New York July 9, 1975,
at a luncheon given by the AFL-CIO)

Fall from Grace…(a re-post, sort of)

So I’ve obviously decided to stroll a bit down memory lane recently,
doing so again today by pulling some thoughts from past posts—
this one comes from Veteran’s Day 2017—and yet it remains very relevant
for today as we ready to celebrate our Nation’s birthday…

“Freedom has been elevated to a total eclipse of a person’s obligations,
to a freedom from any obligation.

Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn

“After the Western ideal of unlimited freedom….
here is the true Christian definition of freedom.
Freedom is self-restriction!
Restriction of the self for the sake of others!”

Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn


(Washington with troops at Valley Forge / Adam Asar)

In his book A Pope and A President, Paul Kengor recalls the admonishment of a young senator from Massachusetts to a college audience….

“In 1955…Senator Kennedy told Assumption College that the Communists had a ‘fear’
of Christianity and allowed ‘no room for God.’

In a passage that could have been spoken by President Ronald Reagan
thirty years later, Kennedy said that Communists sought
‘to make the worship of the State the ultimate objective of life’
and could not ‘permit a higher loyalty, a faith in God,
a belief in a religion that elevates the individual, acknowledges his
true value, and teaches him devotion and responsibility to something
beyond the here and now.

As president, Kennedy candidly warned America of its “atheistic foe,” the
fanaticism and fury” of communions, and the “communist conspiracy” that
“represents a final enslavement.”
“The enemy is the communist system itself—implacable, insatiable, unceasing
in its drive for world domination,” Declared Kennedy.
“This [is] a struggle for supremacy between two conflicting ideologies”
freedom under God versus ruthless, goddess tyranny.”

“Years later President Reagan went to the home of Senator Ted Kennedy…
where he spoke at an endowment fundraiser for the John F. Kennedy Presidential
Library. On hand were Jackie and her two grown children.
Reagan commended JFK for his shrewdness in recognizing the enemy:
“He understood the tension between good and evil in the history of man;
understood, indeed,
that much of the history of man can be seen in the constant working out
of that tension.”

Reagan noted that Kennedy knew that the United States had adversaries,
real adversaries,and they weren’t about to be put off by soft reason and
good intentions.
He tried always to be strong with them and shrewd.”

And so it’s hard for me, in this very surreal 21st century of ours,
to imagine that there were once two presidents serving roughly 20 years apart—
men from two very different parties, two very different men, who each understood
what exactly was this nation’s collective enemy.

These two very different men who, despite being decades apart in their service to
their nation as well as being nearly 30 years apart in age…men who were each of
different ideologies, could actually collectively agree at that juncture in time
on a single threat.
Something that we see today which has become more satirical farce
rather than serious consideration.

And not only did these two very different presidents understand who the
collective enemy was…they also deeply understood the connection between a nation
who rested under God’s dominion verses a nation resting under the dominion of man.

Imagine today the party of Kennedy speaking about an “atheistic foe”…
Or referring to an adversarial nation as having “no room for God”
as well as those who have a fear of a Christian nation—
Imagine that a leader of the party of Kennedy would actually claim the United States
to be a “God fearing, Christian nation”
That there would be those who would speak of godlessness when referring to
oppressive regimes.

Imagine the party of Reagan, in turn, speaking words of agreement…

Oh how far we have fallen from who we once were.

When did it happen?

When did we think it necessary to scorn and scoff the notion of being
collectively under the yoke of an Omnipotent Creator?
When did we decide that we were free of any obligations other than to our own
selfish individual whims and agendas?

When did we decide there was no real good nor evil…
rather just the altar of individual humanism?

And what is the irony that the words of a one time Soviet dissident
would remind us, those of us who have lived in and with “freedom” most of our
lives, that our’s is a precious gift…one that we have been entrusted with
to cherish and maintain…as blood has been spilled and lives have been lost
all in the name of this very “freedom.”

It has mattered not whether we were black nor white,
male or female, freeman or enslaved individual…we toiled
through wars with others as well as wars with ourselves
so that ultimately ALL men and women living under our one flag
could and would be free.

And so I look around and wonder now—why is there such divisiveness?
Why is there such strife?
We have all fought too hard and too long to believe the lies
of those whose desire it is to destroy our way of life.

And I say that as I speak of those within our own Nation.

It would behoove us as individuals as well as a Nation to
recall, as well as honor, the selfless sacrifices made by those
men and women who, since those early days when we were but a collection
of bedraggled colonies…
a people, who down through the decades, understood exactly who
the enemy always was and that we as human beings have been called
to a greater good…

These selfless brave men and these women who have served and continue to serve
our Nation have often offered the ultimate sacrifice of both lives and limbs,
all for a Nation that now is at war with itself…having lost her way.

May their service never have been in vain.
And may we always hold our freedom from tyranny dear…

“…it would have seemed quite impossible, in America,
that an individual be granted boundless freedom with no purpose,
simply for the satisfaction of his whims.
Subsequently, however, all such limitations were eroded everywhere in in the west;
a total emancipation occurred from the moral heritage of Christ
ian
centuries with the great reserve of mercy and sacrifice.”
Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn

the small gift of the holidays— or when a cousin comes to visit

“It’s an universal law–
intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education.
An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience,
whereas truly profound education breeds humility.”

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn


(the cousins on the couch resting after the big meal / Julie Cook / 2017)

With the arrival of this almost two month long “holiday” season–that time
prior to Thanksgiving, of which usually is now ushered in just following Halloween,
with the big lead up to feasting and fellowshipping—
all the way to just after New Years, with its big exhale and let down…
many of us will experience the comings and goings of family and friends
those who come home to roost or those who are simply passing through.

Perhaps it’s us who are the ones doing the visiting…
making those often precarious trips here, there and yon

Either way…all sorts of folks are coming and going.

College students return home.
Schools shut down for the holidays
Work schedules become erratic.
Vacations begin…
Things just become topsy turvy… for what was once just a couple of weeks
to something now which has morphed into almost a 2 month celebration.

As a kid, do you remember having family come visit for the holidays…
or maybe you were the one traveling with family to do the visiting?

Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, cousins…. folks you wouldn’t have seen but
maybe once or twice a year,
but folks who your parents would read you the riot act over….
Strongly reminding you as to what it means to being kind, patient, polite
and not to grouse when having to share your toys, your room, your time,
your space–or to, in turn, tolerate having to be the recipient of perhaps
the not so most hospitable relative.

Older great aunts who would pinch your cheeks, kissed your face with bright red lipstick
as their extra strong perfume lingered cloyingly in your nostrils….
Or of that very loud and very obnoxious uncle who just made for awkward conversation…
yet would always slip you a dollar when no one was watching.

You could see your dad biting his tongue, your mom “playing nice” and you’d figure
if they could handle it, you could handle the little cousin who constantly
followed you around the house while your older cousin hid your favorite stuffed animal while having to sit by that aunt who insisted on your trying her best pickled ham casserole.

Family…friends…visiting—it’s what the holidays bring.

And therein lies the hidden gift of the holidays…

I thought about all of this today when I finally sat down,
exhausted from the days of lead up cooking and the few hours of cleaning
for what amounts to about a 20 minute meal…
when looking at our son and daughter-n-law’s dog, Alice the grand-dog, who had jumped
up on one the end of the couch, making herself at home,
home on the end that one of our cats, Peaches, stakes out as her own.

Disgusted, she left the room.

Percy however was not to be displaced.
He loves his mother and doesn’t want to share her with his usurper cousin….
so he jumped up and settled in right by my side—

17 pounds of cat verses 85 pounds of black lab….both wanting, needing, to be
by the one they look to for food, comfort and security.
Yet not particularly caring for one another.

And so they tolerate one another…they share their space, albeit it precariously.
They “play nice” to coexist in close proximity because they are “family”—
like it or not.

Alice is here until Monday.
Percy is here for the duration.
Yet they will make the best of this not so favorable situation of time
because this time of year, these holidays just bring out the better, the kinder,
the more generous in us all.

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting
to get anything back.
Then your reward will be great,
and you will be children of the Most High,
because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Luke 6:35-36

fall from Grace…

“Freedom has been elevated to a total eclipse of a person’s obligations,
to a freedom from any obligation.

Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn

“After the Western ideal of unlimited freedom….
here is the true Christian definition of freedom.
Freedom is self-restriction!
Restriction of the self for the sake of others!”

Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn

In his book A Pope and A President, Paul Kengor recalls the admonishment of a young senator from Massachusetts to a college audience….

“In 1955…Senator Kennedy told Assumption College that the Communists had a ‘fear’
of Christianity and allowed ‘no room for God.’

In a passage that could have been spoken by President Ronald Reagan thirty years later,
Kennedy said that Communists sought ‘to make the worship of the State the ultimate objective of life’ and could not ‘permit a higher loyalty, a faith in God,
a belief in a religion that elevates the individual, acknowledges his true value,
and teaches him devotion and responsibility to something beyond the here and now.

As president, Kennedy candidly warned America of its “atheistic foe,” the
fanaticism and fury” of communions, and the “communist conspiracy” that
“represents a final enslavement.”
“The enemy is the communist system itself—implacable, insatiable, unceasing
in its drive for world domination,” Declared Kennedy.
“This [is] a struggle for supremacy between two conflicting ideologies”
freedom under God versus ruthless, goddess tyranny.”

“Years later President Reagan went to the home of Senator Ted Kennedy…
where he spoke at an endowment fundraiser for the John F. Kennedy Presidential
Library. On hand were Jackie and her two grown children.
Reagan commended JFK for his shrewdness in recognizing the enemy:
“He understood the tension between good and evil in the history of man;
understood, indeed,
that much of the history of man can be seen in the constant working out
of that tension.”

Reagan noted that Kennedy knew that the United States had adversaries,
real adversaries,and they weren’t about to be put off by soft reason and
good intentions.
He tried always to be strong with them and shrewd.”

It’s hard for me, in this very surreal 21st century of ours, to imagine that there
were once two presidents serving roughly 20 years apart—
men from two very different parties,
who each understood who the nation’s collective enemy was.

These two very different men who, despite being decades apart in their service to
their nation as well as being nearly 30 years apart in age…men who were each of
different ideologies could actually collectively agree then on what today has
become a more satirical farce than serious consideration.

And not only did these two very different presidents understand who the
collective enemy was…they also deeply understood the connection between a nation
who rested under God’s dominion verses a nation resting under the dominion of man.

Imagine today the party of Kennedy speaking about an “atheistic foe”…
Or referring to an adversarial nation as having “no room for God”
as well as those who have a fear of a Christian nation—
Imagine that a leader of the party of Kennedy would actually claim the United States
to be a “God fearing, Christian nation”
That there would be those who would speak of godlessness when referring to
oppressive regimes.

Imagine the party of Reagan, in turn, speaking words of agreement…

Oh how far we have fallen from who we once were.

When did it happen?

When did we think it necessary to scorn and scoff the notion of being
collectively under the yoke of an Omnipotent Creator?
When did we decide that we were free of any obligations other than to our own
selfish individual whims?

When did we decide there was no real good nor evil…
rather just the altar of individual humanism?

And what is the irony that the words of a one time Soviet dissident
would remind us, those of us who have lived in and with “freedom” most of our
lives, that our’s is a precious gift…one that we have been entrusted with
to cherish and maintain…as blood has been spilled and lives have been lost
all in the name of this very “freedom.”

So on this Veterans day, it would behoove us as individuals as well as a Nation to
recall, as well as honor, the selfless sacrifices made by those men and women who,
since those early days when we were but a collection of bedraggled colonies,
who down through the decades understood exactly who the enemy always was and
that we as human beings have been called to a greater good…
These very men and these women who have often offered the utter sacrifice–
of both lives and limbs, for a Nation that now is at war with itself…
having lost her way.

May their service never have been in vain.

“…it would have seemed quite impossible, in America,
that an individual be granted boundless freedom with no purpose,
simply for the satisfaction of his whims.
Subsequently, however, all such limitations were eroded everywhere in in the west;
a total emancipation occurred from the moral heritage of Christian
centuries with the great reserve of mercy and sacrifice.”

Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn